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HURRICANE POOL SAFETY

HURRICANE POOL SAFETY

Hurricane Season Pool Preparation

Hurricane season takes place June 1st through November 30th in Florida.

There are many ways you should prepare for hurricane season – here are some helpful tips from the Florida Swimming Pool Association to protect your swimming pool, hot tub and patio area from the next hurricane or tropical storm.

Before:
  • Do not drain your pool! Keep proper water levels in your pool, the weight of the water holds the sides and bottoms in place during the hurricane or tropical storm.
  • Trim branches and remove potential threats to your swimming pool and patio
  • Shock your pool – you may lose power for an extended amount of time, meaning your pool should be ‘super chlorinated’ – this will help your pool’s water chemistry.
  • Turn off all power at the circuit breakers before a storm hits. Any exposed electrical equipment such as motors for the pumps should be tightly covered with plastic wrap. If flooding is expected, attempt to remove and place at higher ground.
  • Remove any loose objects such as chairs, tables, pool equipment and even toys. These items can become projectiles in high wind storms. 
  • If you cannot store certain pool deck items inside for the storm, you can gently place them into your pool for safe keeping – do not throw any items into your pool. Throwing can items can create leaks or damage your pool
    • Be especially weary if you have a vinyl or fiberglass pool
  • Never put glass items into your pool, they must be taken inside
a swimming pool filled with lounge chairs and tables in preparation for a hurricane
During:
  • Do not use your pool directly before, during or after the hurricane or tropical storm – lightning, high winds and other dangers are unpredictable
  • Do not go outside to check on or change anything during the storm – assess damage after.
After:
  • Do not immediately turn your pumps back on after the storm has passed
  • Remove debris from the pool with a net, skimmer or pool rake – do not use your regular pool vacuum equipment or pool pumps as they are likely to clog the plumbing
  • Before touching any electrical equipment after the storm, be sure that everything is dry. Check circuit breakers to be sure they are off before attempting to reconnect electrical equipment such as pump motors. Inspect wiring for proper connections. If electric motors have been exposed to water, they should be checked by a professional.
  • Shock your pool again, this will help begin the process of getting your pool back into balance

During hurricane season, remember to prepare yourself and your swimming pool for safety.

Find out more about general hurricane preparedness from the Red Cross

Your Disinfection Team: Chlorine & pH

Protection Against Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs) (The following is information from the CDC)

www.healthyswimming.org

Protecting swimmers and their families from RWIs is the reason that pool staff regularly check both chlorine and pH levels. Chlorine and pH, your disinfection team, are the first defense against germs that can make swimmers sick.

What does chlorine do?

Chlorine kills germs in pools–but it takes time to work. Therefore, it’s important to make sure chlorine levels are always at the levels recommended by the health department (usually between 1.0 – 3.0 ppm).

Why does chlorine need to be tested regularly?

All sorts of things can reduce chlorine levels in pool water. Some examples are sunlight, dirt, debris, skin, and fecal matter from swimmer’s bodies. That’s why chlorine levels must be routinely measured. However, the time it takes for chlorine to work is also affected by the other member of the disinfection team, pH.

Why is pH important?

Two reasons. First, the germ-killing power of chlorine varies with pH level. As pH goes up, the ability of chlorine to kill germs goes down. Second, a swimmer’s body has a pH between 7.2 and 7.8, so if the pool water isn’t kept in this range then swimmers will start to feel irritation of their eyes and skin. Keeping the pH in this range will balance chlorine’s germ-killing power while minimizing skin and eye irritation.

What else can be done to promote Healthy Swimming?

The best way to kill germs is by routinely measuring and adjusting both chlorine and pH levels. Since a few germs can survive for long periods in even the bestmaintained pools, it is also important that swimmers become aware of Healthy Swimming behaviors (don’t swim when ill with diarrhea, don’t swallow pool water, take frequent bathroom breaks, and practice good hygiene). Combining Healthy Swimming behaviors with good chlorine and pH control will reduce the spread of RWIs.

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